Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Pray... 31 days of five minute free writing.

Pray without ceasing.

I heard it when I was young. My earliest memories are of being in church, usually three times a week. Unless there was a revival, then we were there every night.

I knew prayer was a real thing. Talking to God was available to me. But at that time, I thought in order to pray, I had to bow my head and close my eyes.  I remember kneeling beside my bed at night to say prayers. We didn't pray in bed because we might fall asleep.

How do you pray without ceasing if you have to close your eyes to pray? I wondered and tried to understand.

It was so freeing for me, to learn that I could pray at my kitchen window. Driving down the road. In the bathroom. At my desk at work. At the bedside of a dying friend. Sitting in the floor, straddling my young son's beds hand in hand with each of them, pulling me tight like Stretch Armstrong, begging God for them to sleep so I could.

Learning this brought praying without ceasing to life- it was no longer reserved for the altar call at church but a conversation I could have all day everyday.  And now, when someone asks me to pray for them, I can, and often do right then.

Don't get me wrong- there is something special about the reverence to God in that humbled position on our knees, He is so deserving of our respect. And when I can't get any lower than my face buried in the carpet crying out to Jesus, I feel closest to my Savior. Those prayers are life changing because they drain me of everything that is me.

I often pray in bed now...and even fall asleep sometimes pouring my heart out to the one who is always listening.  As parents, don't we love it when our children fall asleep on our chest, in our arms.  They are so comfortable and safe they drift off, often in spite of the noise or chaos happening around them.

Do you think our Father loves it when we are so comfortable with Him that we doze off in His presence? Even when the noise and chaos of life is happening around us. I like to think so.

I'm sure many of you, like me, have discovered that prayer is more than just a thing to do, it has become my lifeline-infertility, breast cancer, and trauma parenting are a few of the unexpected stops in my journey that have taken me to my knees- eyes open wide praying for guidance, grace, mercy and healing and just telling God what He already knows.  Some answers I received loud and clear immediately, some answers came after fourteen years of praying and some I'm still waiting on.

But this I know, praying without ceasing is a blessing. It allows us to storm heaven on behalf of others when sometimes, there is simply nothing else we can do.  And oh my goodness how thankful my family is for the prayers we know have been lifted up for us.

Rex, me, Elijah and Isaiah
10.16.18 - first time we've all been together in months 

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 
The Message, I Thessalonians 5:15- 18

So keep praying, even if you fall asleep in the arms of the one who has the answers.  Don't have the answers yet? We still have much to be joyful and thankful for.

Happy Tuesday y'all!



Thursday, October 11, 2018

Door... 31 days of five minute free writing.


Do you have a phobia/fear from being a kid?  I do and it drives my husband crazy.

I hate closed doors.

I remember one time when we were young kids, visiting family friends in another state. My entire family slept in the same room and my brother, sister and I slept on the floor.  I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and because the door was shut, the room was pitch black. It took me forever crawling around that room trying to feel for the handle. By the time I got the door open I was sure the room had closed completely in on me. Don't you know it, I left that door cracked when I crawled back to my place on the floor.

When we were kids, the last thing my parents did when we went to bed at night was close our door. I hated it. Immediately I felt cut off and far away from them. I can't explain it, like most fear it doesn't make sense, but it sure is scary for me. I need to know what is happening or who might be on the other side of the door.

Rex and I have slept with our bedroom door open since our wedding night. I can definitely say it is one thing he has given on, because I know many times, especially when we have guests, that he really, really wants that door shut.  For me, even with guests I'm gonna leave it cracked- even just a little- but enough to convince myself it is open.

I know it is silly.

Doors in our family get a lot of attention, especially the slamming of them.
Drives this momma up the wall.

I could live with that until the slamming turned to locking which became a problem for us not knowing whether or not our son was safe on the other side.  If you've parented kids with self-harm threats, you understand the panic this can create, especially when they do not respond when you talk to them.

Doors take a beating in our family.

When Shayne was a baby he kept climbing out of his crib at ten months old, but wouldn't stay in a toddler bed- he would lay down behind his door and fall asleep. Every time we would check on him, we would wake him up. We solved the problem by cutting an entire panel out of his bedroom door so we could keep him in his room at the top of stairs; but still see him.  We got really good a dropping a blanket through that hole so he would be warm in his favorite sleeping spot.

We have sawed locks and handles off of bedroom doors to make sure our son, who had locked himself in, hadn't done something really stupid.

And our recent favorite is just taking the entire door down. I've drug that dumb door to the attic more than once.  It serves as a reminder to angry boys that doors are a privilege, not a right.

With all of this talk about about not shutting doors, I need to tell you that I do appreciate a locked external door.  Because that door locked up serves the same purpose in keeping unwanted people out.



I guess my fear and my comfort just depends on which side of the door I'm on.

Happy Thursday y'all. Check your doors.




Wednesday, October 10, 2018

How... 31 days of five minute free writing.

Are you a How? or How! thinker?

I often want to know how something happened.  I'm a curious one.  Actually, I'm a secret Crime Scene Investigator wanna-be. When I hear breaking news, I'm quick to start searching for details on how the thing happened. I put the pieces together in my head and have it all figured out. I'm right about 40% of the time, which is why it is good that I do Marketing and not CSI for income.

I get frustrated when I can't explain the how. Are you like that too?

I'm sure at some point in your life, you have heard people ask how on earth do you___________? I'm willing to bet, you have even thought or asked it yourself. 

It's a question that comes up when we witness people doing something that seems hard. Exhausting. Something that requires energy and effort that seems beyond normal. Caregivers - parents with Alzheimers, spouses with ALS, children with cancer.  Missionaries thriving in environments and cultures that collide with American privilege.

How? do they do it.

Maybe it's just their love and dedication. Commitment or obedience.  I can't say for sure, but I would be willing to offer the How! has something to do with faith and finding strength from God and not themselves. 

Yes, God's love and His commitment to us, in our obedience to Him is how on earth we ________________.

Happy Wednesday y'all!





Monday, October 8, 2018

Comfort... 31 days of five minute free writing.

Comfort
Sitting in my rocking chair next to an outdoor fire
Warm sunshine touching my face or watching it shining through the trees
Hot coffee in my hands on a cool morning
Swinging in the afternoon, just because I can
A hot bubble bath
A blanket and snuggling with my family on a Sunday afternoon
The way my grandkids light up when they see me
Listening to the ocean waves crash

Comfort food
Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
Chicken casserole and macaroni and cheese
My momma's mashed potatoes
Pizza
Cupcakes

Comforted
By prayers and support when there is a death of someone precious and dear
With extra help during recovery after surgeries
When my people show up and listen... they may not have the answers, but love me anyway
When my husband holds my hand, puts his arm around me or just holds me
When my adult son and DIL offer hugs just because 

Comforter.
JESUS.

Happy Monday y'all!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

HOPE... 31 days of five minute free writing.

Hope.

If you asked me what one of my favorite things God gave me was, I would say hope. 

I don't do tattoos, but if I did, it would simply be the word Hope, with a sunflower.

Hope is everything.  Right?

About four months ago, I hit a low.  Trauma Momma parenting caught up to me. Major depression, anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD symptoms became my norm.  At the same time we were making decisions to bring chaos to order and safety to our family, resulting in our middle son being admitted to Psychiatric Residential Treatment. 

At that time, it felt like hope was gone. I couldn't grasp it, because everything was so dark and heavy and scary. I struggled with defining reality vs. hope.  I was looking for hope from the physicians, therapists and teachers, etc.  I wanted them to assure me things will be okay.



We are adjusting to living day-to-day with our son living his somewhere else. The days for me aren't as dark as they were a few months ago. We are functioning as a family much better. But, we still ache for a child who himself can't seem to grasp hope.

As much as we hope and continue to pray for a miracle we get slapped with reality.  Like Friday, the phone call advising of his choices that are so familiar yet unhealthy.  It would be easy for hope to come and go based on circumstances. Except...

My hope is in Christ alone. He promised to never leave me. If he is with me always then my hope can't be gone. 

On a recent visit with our son, my husband and I went to kill some time at the local mall.  We had left him earlier that day thinking we might be seeing tiny steps of progress.  So, when I saw this sign it seemed like it was there just for me. 


Both of these signs hang on the walls of our home. As reminders.
We need hope, but we need to know where our hope is found.

Got hope? If not, I know where you can find it.

Happy Sunday y'all!







Saturday, October 6, 2018

Belong... 31 days of five minute free writing.

You don't belong here. Get out. 
Ever heard that before?

It can be devastating when we feel like we do not belong. As humans, we seek to belong (be a part of; to have the proper qualifications) and being rejected can be difficult and painful. 

Many organizations require us to meet certain criteria to belong- good credit, integrity, dependable, etc.  Or we have to agree to to adhere to specific rules. Belonging depends on our worthiness. 

There is a song that became important in our family a few years ago when we were trying to get our son to understand that he did in fact belong in our family.  And more importantly, he belonged in God's family. 

The song says 
You're never too broken to belong 
Never too wounded never too far gone
When you find Jesus you find you're home
And you're never too broken to belong



You can listen to Gold City sing it here. https://youtu.be/zqOdQbxC7Gs

Isn't that beautiful to a broken soul? 
No criteria to meet.  No rules to follow. 

We are part of God's family because we have the proper qualification- Jesus. And He will never, never, ever tell you to get out.  

Happy Saturday y'all! 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Share... 31 days of five minute free writing.

You have to share.  Be nice and share.

I hated hearing those words when I was little.  I shared a room.  I shared a bed.  I was taught (forced) to share everything.

Most kids hate to share don't they? Often, one of the first words a toddler learns is "mine" and we watch little ones grab and take from each other.  I get it, for a long time in our early marriage we worked so hard to have anything, that the thought of sharing it was scary.  If I share then I might do without.

Now that I am adult, I get annoyed really quickly when I see a lack of sharing. If I'm organizing an event, it's usually a bring and share event, which I prefer over the ones where it's you bring for your family and I bring for mine.

Inevitably, other people sometimes have things we want, or maybe just something we would like to try that we just hadn't thought about but we're scared to try it. When people share with me, often it becomes something I purchase or use regularly because it worked. Or tasted good. Or brought joy, like a game, or tent for a camping trip, etc. Sharing what we have can help others know what they want.

Not sharing is part of our nature, it has to be taught and exampled out of us. Which is why many parents start with the little ones, telling them to share and that "mine" isn't nice.

One of the ways I've learned to share through the years was by example. My in-laws were great and welcoming people in and offering whatever they had.  Rex and I benefited often from their generosity and led us to our own "open fridge" policy in our house. If we have it, you are welcome to it. That doesn't always sit well with my kids, especially when a guest wants the last Gatorade, or Little Debbie; but we want to be giving and try to teach our kids to do the same. That doesn't mean we don't have many conversations daily about sharing, because it can, at times feel intrusive and scary for our kids.

As Jesus followers, we should share so much more than our Diet Coke and fried chicken.  Sharing our faith can be life-changing for others. I'm not talking about telling our family, coworkers and friends, even strangers, what their faults are and declaring they are hell bound. I'm talking about simply sharing, in conversation, invitations and interactions each and every day in our own lives, by sharing our story. Our people sharing their lives with us and our lives with them has carried us through some pretty ugly days. There is a saying- double the joy and half the sorrow, when both are shared.

We have a great hope in Jesus, let's share it. And keep sharing the chicken :)

Happy Friday y'all!
 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Why... 31 days of five minute free writing.

Why...

do I get a different look with hot curlers on different days, when I curl my hair the same way every time?
does only one sock disappear between the washer and dryer and not both?
can I carry my cell phone in my hand to not miss an important call, and never hear it ring?
does the dog need to go out as soon as I sit down?
does climbing stairs make me breathe heavy but digging holes in the yard and hauling dirt does not?
does the person zooming past me on the interstate going >80 mph not get the ticket, but I do for going 15 over?
does hotel coffee never taste as good as home brewed?
can two people eat the same things and one gain weight and one lose?
does time on the weekend go by faster than time during a work day?
can my toddler grandchild figure out the iPhone quicker than me?
does the same pair of shoes only rub a blister on one foot?
do I cut my own bangs again, when I know how terrible it will turn out?

There are a million why's, aren't there? Just start answering a three-year when they ask you a question.  Any question.  With every answer, there is another why? Eventually, they can why you right out of answers and you end it with Because. 

Some of our why questions are silly, like the ones above. And some of our why's are serious and sad and come from a place of hurt and even anger. Some have logical, scientific answers and for others, there isn't an explanation.

The answers to some of our questions won't be answered here. Or with science. 
So instead of solving the why, I ask you to consider...

Why not?

Happy Thursday y'all!





For more perspectives on why follow the link below.


        Five Minute Friday



Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Believe... 31 days of five minute free writing.

Just because I believe it, doesn't make it true.
And when true, even if I don't believe, is still true.

Believing doesn't change truth.
Believing changes me.

One of my favorite verses when we were going through infertility was in Mark 9:24, where the desperate Daddy said to Jesus, I do believe - help my unbelief.

This is me. Everyday. Always.



I want to believe so much that mountains move. But that ugly friend, unbelief shows up and I get all confused when Jesus said everything is possible for the one who believes.  And it is so tempting to fall into the thought that I hold the power of if I believe hard enough I can change what is true.  Like God ordered our days before we were born and He is in control of all things. Not me. So, I find peace in knowing that what is true, God's sovereign plan, is not shaken.  It is true, whether I believe it or not.

So, when someone I love desperately dies from an ugly disease, the pressure is not on my lack of faith in believing; but knowing God's plan is greater.  Even when I cannot come close to understanding it here.

I believe Jesus is the Son of God and in His name is power.
I believe God is the Father, who always was and always will be.
I believe the Holy Spirit comforts me, helps me, and goes to God with my hearts cry when I can't make sense of it.
I believe these Three are one.
I believe Jesus is coming back.

Believing doesn't change truth.
Believing changes me.

Happy Wednesday y'all!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Afraid... 31 days of five minute free writing.

DO NOT FEAR!

For as long as I can remember, I took these words as a commandment.  Like DO NOT KILL, HAVE NO OTHER GOD BEFORE ME.  The words felt harsh to me.

On September 20, I was in a meeting and was summoned by one of our HR Staff.  "There's been an accident with one of your sons" she said.  My husband was at the front reception office, visibly shaken and all I got out of him was "we have to go, now, Shayne's been shot with a bow".

Shayne is my firstborn.  I've seen him hunt and kill with that bow since he was a young teen.  Y'all, I was afraid. I had to tell my body to breathe, and my heart to beat.  It was about 7-10 minutes as we hurried toward my son and his family, before I learned he had been shot in the hand.  I calmed a little, knowing he would probably not die on this day, but I couldn't immediately calm my fear.  It was a terrible accident that caused him great pain and there were many what ifs over the next several days.  He is okay, but with scars he will bear for the rest of his life.

Over the last weeks, I've thought much about being afraid.  I'm afraid when my husband is away overnight.  I'm afraid when I sign papers admitting my son for care that we cannot give. I'm afraid when the phone rings at hours it isn't supposed too with almost always sad news. I'm afraid that depression will last forever. I'm afraid that I am not living up to the calling God has given me.

But, what if...what if DO NOT FEAR, is supposed read, (insert soothing voice from our Daddy)

Oh sweet child of mine, don't be afraid.  I am here with you. I won't leave you alone and you don't have to put your big girl panties on.  You just be, in me.  I'll carry you, scars and all. 

We all get afraid.  But we don't have to live in fear.

Happy Tuesday y'all!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Story... 31 days of five minute free writing.

I tell him all the time, this is just part of your story.

It isn't the end.  And it isn't the beginning.  It's just a part of it.  For him, the pages are long and exhausting and full of hard that we know as Reactive Attachment Disorder.  Because his story is so trauma filled, our story is too.  Our stories have a ripple affect on the people around us.  

He called me a couple of weeks ago from the Residential Facility where he currently lives. He was telling me about some unkind comments that had been made to him that day.  The peer told him that because he was adopted, he was probably unwanted.  I reminded him that wasn't true.  We confirmed to each other that God created him and he was most certainly wanted.  Then he asked,  "did God know I would be this way".  

This way.  I knew what he meant.  Inside my gorgeous kid with a huge smile is so much hurt and anger and fear and shame.  

It stopped me cold for a second, but I quickly answered yes.  Yes he did.  He created you to be here, to be part of our family.  He knows your story and He is still writing it.  My son's hard, your hard, mixed in with all of the day-to-day, from brushing our teeth to landing new jobs, to being healed from disease to not.  It is witness to the greatest story ever told.  The one where Jesus died for us. Because of love.  And he redeems every single part of our story. 


But, we do have some creative rights.  We are free to choose Him to trust his writing of our story or we can take control and try to rewrite the parts we don't like. We might even spice it up a little, make it more interesting, or calm it way down so there is no risk at all.

Sometimes we fight it when it doesn't match up to our dreams. Sometimes, we consider writing our own selves out of the story because we can't imagine an ending worth fighting for. 

But just like I tell my son, oh sweet boy, when your story is more complete, when you have let the trauma and control go and let God fill all those hurt places, your story is going to ripple to so many places where there are other people who need to hear it. Because our stories affect each other and we use them to share hope and to encourage others who have similar stories. Who may just be wondering if their story is worth it.  

You have a story! This day, and the next day, and the next...they are just parts of your story but they are not the end.  So be encouraged, the great story writer is at work and you are a best seller. 

Happy Monday y'all, 


Friday, September 28, 2018

FMF: Potential

Five Minute Friday...writers taking five.  Just five, minutes that is, each week to write our thoughts on the prompt assigned.  This weeks topic is potential.

GO. 

- someone or something considered a worthwhile possibility

I saw a picture today about recycling- she had taken what looked like a water bottle that had been made into a small purse.

So many Face book posts from  a couple who have been waiting and praying for their future adopted child.  Today was the day for the placement.

The look on his sweet face when he bit into the chocolate chip cookie that he happened upon, it was clear that he enjoyed every crumb.  At nine-months old, he knew its worth.

First Cookie 

Whether it is the sweeping of a porch, clearing debris from so much rain so it can be enjoyed again, or the prayers for a son who is not able, at least for now to live at home.

Potential is all around us. Sometimes we see it like a flashing light and we can't miss it, the new job that found you, a new house, a new love relationship. But other times, it is subtle and we have to search for it to find it.

Whatever your situation today, from loving a special child, finding a sweet treat or making new things out of trash, keep looking for the worthwhile possibility- you might just be the potential game changer.

STOP.

Happy Friday y'all,

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

When The Broken Thing is Me.

I don't usually get too upset when something breaks.  Whatever... it's just a thing.  But recently, two special things in my kitchen were broken.

The first, was a little round bellied chef sitting down stirring a bowl of something.  The years of sitting in a kitchen left it stained with what looked like grease, but would not wash off.  It was in my mother-in-laws kitchen when I met her, and it was one of the items I chose when her home was consolidated to pay for her care.  It reminded me of her and all the memories we made in her kitchen, always open and always something on the table.

During our kitchen remodel, I knocked it off of my own counter with a broom handle.  It was broken beyond repair.  I scooped the pieces up off the floor and threw them in the trash.  My little chef is now just a memory.  I was sad.

More recently, the other item that was broken was a Magnolia cake plate lid.  I had purchased it for myself- mainly because the top, made of glass, was super tall. I could now store our leftover birthday cakes made by Priceless Cups & Cakes that were always taller than my lids.  It was pretty and on my newly renovated kitchen counter, held goodies for my family and grand babies.  Like my mother-in-law, I want my kitchen to be welcoming and comfy and always something on the table, or in the cake plate. I had just said to Emily, my Daughter-in-love, that it was my favorite thing.  Within an hour it was shattered into a million pieces on my kitchen floor.  It took a good while to sweep up all the teeny tiny slivers of glass. I wanted to cry, but we had guests over so I just swept. As I emptied dust pan after dust pan into the trash, I thought about another broken thing in my life.

Me.

It was Friday, June 15th.  I was sitting in the living room floor and instead of hearing her tell me I was over-reacting and I just needed to relax- it would be okay, this respected professional was telling me things I wasn't expecting to hear; but it was truth. The night before had been my a-ha moment.

I hung up the phone and I broke. Shattered like that crazy glass cake top.  And in those minutes, I knew I would never be the same. I couldn't fix my son and I couldn't fix me.

In these years of trauma parenting, I thought my strength was measured in my ability to keep pushing through, stuffing down and not breaking. In caring for my family I had failed to take care of my own self and that just won't work long term. 

Do you know what? We are incapable of fixing ourselves. Someone has to come alongside and pick up the pieces. Jesus is the one.  He comforts and binds us up- He can take our brokenness, all the tiny pieces and super glues us back together, if you will.

I saw a quote recently on a friend's Instagram:

Strength isn't about how much you can handle before you break, it's about how much you can handle after you break (author unknown). 

We all break. We all have our stuff, and our stuff hurts. Some of us break because of the death of a parent, spouse or child.  Some because we are caring for a parent with Alzheimers. Some because we've been personally touched by teen suicide. Cancer? Divorce? A child who can't be healed? Some of us because we lost our job. Our dreams were crushed. 

Are you the broken thing?

Just know that there is beauty in the breaking.
Nothing is wasted, and nothing is lost.

In my weakness, in my brokenness, He is strong. 
I am stronger because I've been broken. And you will be too. 

Guess what?  Today is my 51st birthday and look what my sweet husband bought me...




I'm thankful to have a new cake plate, but more thankful that God doesn't scoop us into the trash and have to go looking for a replacement when we break. He just makes us better than we were, filling those cracks with His love and mercy binding us together into a better us, because we are more full of Him. 

Happy Wednesday y'all,

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

When Dread and Relief Collide.

Dread.

It sits on my chest like an elephant and consumes my thoughts, both waking and sleep, and it sticks like glue; dread has become part of our everyday.

Generally, dread isn't part of our happy- just the hard, hurtful, painful and inevitably sad things that we know are in our path.

Today, dread and relief collide. Today is July 17, 2018.

For weeks, Rex and I have dreaded how today would play out; weeks that included multiple police visits to our home, several Emergency Room assessments, discharges and ultimately a hospital admission. Weeks of crisis intervention and a child who continued to spiral out of control. A child we no longer recognized and feared.

Today, our son will be discharged from the hospital, spend several hours alone with us in the car, endure a tedious admission process and then say goodbye. It is in the admission and goodbye, where we find the relief.

He was waiting at the door at six am ready to go. He would have preferred going home, but that wasn't possible. Not now. So he made the best of it. As we drove up I-81, Fear is a Liar began to play on the radio. Tears began to fall as I sang "it will rob your breath, stop you in your tracks" and he took my hand. He told me it would be okay. My 13 yr. old son who days before proved we were not safe in our own home, was comforting me.  That is part of the confusion of parenting a child with complex trauma. The words they say often don't align with their actions. And as I heard the words, "when he told you- you could be the one, grace could never change" I wondered, again if my son would ever be able to recognize and accept that grace; but because of our own trauma and hurt and exhaustion, on this day I didn't care.

Our family is desperate for relief, a remedy, removal of oppression.

I was driving home from the beach this past June when this scene caught my eye- it was hauntingly close to how I was feeling. I turned the car around to take this picture.


The two trees in the middle look like they are surrounded by vibrant, green trees but in reality, there is a great distance between the two and the hundreds of trees in the background. The dead, fallen remnants of what once lived seemed to almost swallow up the tall but so very thin tree.

I was this tree.

I wasn't sure how I was still standing; surrounded by many but so alone. Loss of hope nearly swallowing me alive. So fragile, fearing the next storm could easily break me.

We pull into the parking lot at Grafton, gather his things and we take a family picture. It is our stone of remembrance because this is part of our story, not the end.

Elijah, me and Rex,  7/17/18

Dread brought us here.  Dread of the hours upon hours of physical aggression and confrontations. Fear tells us that hope is gone. Statistics tell us that that our son may not be healed. Dread tells us that no matter how much we love him, he has needs beyond what we can safely provide in our home.  And that is a dread that no parent wants to experience. Dread that in trying to "fix" our mentally ill son means losing another. Losing us. Dread in making this decision that we know is right, but feels so wrong.  Dread of the enemy because he lies y'all,

And that tree that was so close to breaking back in June- there were more storms. Oh so many, and the storms broke that tree. Shattered actually.

I am that tree. I am shattered. 
We all are.

So many prayers were answered on this day- and in looking at those answers we find relief. Relief that we were able to transport him from the hospital in our own car, without incident. That the time alone with him was sweet, tense and sad, but sweet. Relief in feeling confident that the facility itself its a safe place, with caring staff who specializes in complex trauma and here, our son will be offered the highest level of care.

Today, we left our son in a psychiatric residential treatment facility. He will live here, go to school here, get medical and psychiatric care here. He will have a team of people who will do what we cannot here. And we desperately pray, he will find healing here.

Today, dread and relief collided. Relief that with time our family will heal. Dread of the days ahead and the pain and confusion and guilt and fear and all the lies the enemy will tell us to keep us broken.  Relief that our God is the Great Physician and He doesn't despise the broken, but binds up our wounds.

This is a painful post to share and we don't know how our story ends. The enemy wants us to be embarrassed and ashamed. He tells us we have failed. He tells us that real love would never send our son away. He tells us there is no hope. He tells us we are quitters.

He lies.



Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Exhale.

So today, Rex and I exhaled. We are breathing again. In and out, for the first time in months. (No, not literally or we would be dead, but often lately we felt sure that we couldn’t catch our breath.)

While I have been writing all throughout this day because it is one of those, lay down a stone to remember days, this post from five years ago came up in my facebook memories.

Much of what I was praying for then has been faithfully answered. My oldest is loving God and guiding his sweet family. My boys are pooping regularly.

But honestly, much of what I was praying five years ago as it related to youngest two sons, is still what I pray today, yet unanswered.


Many of my prayers recently have been simple, Dear God, Jesus help or, simply JESUS!

I am so thankful for our friends and family and church body who are lifting more specific prayers on our behalf.  We are commanded to pray without ceasing, yes. 

Sometimes, Jesus help is the most powerful of all prayers.

So, I share this repeat post because if no one else does,  Rex and I need it today - to look back and see God’s faithfulness on this journey and as a reminder to keep praying for the answers we still seek.

Happy Tuesday y’all!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

When a Trauma Momma Craves What She Cannot Find.

Peace.

I crave it.  I dream about it.  I envy it when I see it.  I will go to most any measure to find it, including taking my boys on vacation, alone.  My husband joked that they would eat me alive.  My friends have checked on me this week.  Our people know this is kind of extreme.

But, this.




Oh, this gives me comfort.  God showing off, and I so need Him to do that in my family.

The sunsets are breathtaking.  I haven't seen a sunrise.  Seriously, this past-exhausted momma just can't.  But sitting here, on this deck has been my sanity for this week.




In the midst of his meltdowns, rants and spewing venom...finding a few minutes here listening to the breeze flow through the tall grass has allowed me to catch my breath.  

I'm not over dramatizing, he sucks the breath out of me.  

And the amazing sunsets, the rolling waves and sea breeze that I have been drawn to since childhood, can't stop the trauma being lived out mere feet away.  The rant that has gone on for hours- that started over I can't even tell you.  And really, it doesn't matter what starts it.  I said we would go to the beach early, and it's nine instead of seven so I'm a liar.  

I don't think y'all even know my powers.  Did you know, that I can control the ocean?  Seriously, if you ask my son, he will tell you (okay, probably only he tells me) that I caused the riptides in the ocean this week, ruining two days of boogie boarding.  

I am embarrassed to admit that I understand now, how parents hit their breaking point and snap.  I DO NOT agree with it, and it is not right.  But I understand that hour after hour, day after day of verbal assault and insult weighs on a person and there is only so much one can take.  

Last night was a first, he actually woke me up after being asleep for more than an hour, to restart the rant that I walked away from.  Two hours he spewed venom- I couldn't calm him because I couldn't get a word in.  He was aggressive and destructive and if asked in those moments if I felt safe, the true answer would be no.  But I didn't feel he was safe from himself, either.  And that, is heart-breaking for me.  

I do not know how people parent Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) children without Jesus.  I cling to Him for my survival, and still I feel like I'm drowning.  Who do people without Jesus, cling to and find strength from? 

We are trying to take control back of our home.  We are trying to help our son heal but the chaos that comes from parenting a child with trauma keeps us guessing if we are even sane.  And, the parent guilt is relentless.   

Should we have taken him to the hospital?  Was residential helpful at all?  Is he capable of change? Are we expecting to much?  Is this my problem or his? How can he say such terrible things to me, and not know why I'm crying? Will he ever accept responsibility for his choices or will it always be someone else's fault? How can such a sweet, handsome social kid be kind to others, and not me? Why so much anger?  

Why does his hug make me cringe? What kind of mother says that out loud? 

And as he grows, so does his intensity, strength and determination.  He is master at figuring out the weaknesses of his family, and waits for the right moment to strike, like a viper.  The venom is near deadly.  But sometimes fear, that liar, tells me that would be better than the continued struggle.  He does not embarrass but seems to gain strength from embarrassing us.  And is quick to announce, "I don't care" if we call attention to it.  

And his sorrow when the rage is over, is also more intense and heartbreaking.  But I don't trust it.  Maybe that's the problem, I can't let go of my own fear to help him process his. 

We have glimpses...quick moments of happy. What I would have considered "normal" family stuff before 2009. 





But these moments feel like lies we tell ourselves to survive.  Parenting two kids with unique and different special needs, gives him ammunition against us; because it can't be the same and it is most definitely different that parenting our biological, neuro-typical son.  Nothing feels normal anymore and the sand, literally, under my feet is shifting and I am not able to stand strong.  

I even hate the vocabulary that fill our days.  
Non-neuro-typical, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), depression, self-harm, unsafe, oppositional defiant, frustration, control, issues, door alarms, therapists, psychiatrists, confusion, safety plan, crisis, medication management, door locks, impulsivity, rage, melt-downs, indifference. 

In her book, An Unlit Path, Deborah L. Hannah states, "the opposite of love is indifference." 

My truth, that I am working through, is that I am becoming indifferent to my son, and to my God.  I am afraid to be angry, because of what my unleash within myself.  I keep looking for God's grace to fix our family, but I am facing the reality that maybe grace isn't what He is going to do for us.  Maybe there isn't protection.  Maybe we are truly suffering , like Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4, and until his glory is revealed.  And it may look very different that what we pray for.  

This is not about pity, but to share what our reality is, because I know now, without a doubt, there are other mommas out there who feel the same way.  Just know you are not alone.  

I don't know what the rest of our story looks like.  We are no longer taking it days at a time, but hour by hour.  

We do continue to covet your prayers- maybe for strength in our journey, and that we won't grow weary quiet so fast.  But under no circumstance, pray for our patience! 

And peace, oh how we crave peace.  I'm looking for it desperately. 

Happy Thursday y'all! 




Note- it's been nearly two weeks since I wrote this at the beach. Shortly after, we had what seemed like a good talk and I thought maybe it would get better, so I didn't publish it, thinking again it was me and maybe I was over-reacting; always trying to protect my son from the ugly of our reality- but the truth is,  our family is in chaos and crisis.  If you ask my adult son, he will tell you that we've been here since day one; he remembers vividly when our world changed. We are broken and seeking God's direction for our future, and how to best meet the challenging and difficult needs of our son while preserving our family.  






Thursday, May 10, 2018

Jesus Wins.


"Our family has problems”

That was his reason he gave to her for what brought him to the Emergency Department. “I have RAD, my brother has Autism and my parents have their own problems.” 

All true.  His perspective differs than mine. 

The assessor talked to him some more, talked to me, talked to both of us, made some notes, commented that it’s been a long time since his last inpatient stay and went on her way- ultimately determining that he did in fact, need to be admitted. 

The long- time span is good.  And it certainly gives us perspective that this is better than before.  But, for anyone parenting kids with mental illness, we know it is typically managed- not cured.  It comes in cycles and, like we were told four years ago, it is to be expected.  Especially now, during this time of his body changing and growing and hormones raging. 


I don’t think any parent ever gets “used to” having your child admitted for things that seem beyond his control- yet these things must be controlled to succeed in life.  Anger is normal, uncontrolled anger is scary and dangerous.  Sadness is normal, deep, unrelenting sadness is deadly.  The desire to control is normal, the belief that lack of control will kill you, is destructive and heartbreaking. 

It still blows my mind how the simplest of things, even doing what he asks of us, can send him down a path of no return. 

So here we are.  Now 30 plus hours in and we are still waiting in the Emergency Department for a bed.  He just turned 13 a few weeks ago, which makes him eligible for a third hospital in the area. 

While I sit in this locked, four bed unit and watch the kids come and go my heart is sad.  There have been five other kids share this space in the last 30 hours, kids also dealing with things bigger than they are.  The ages ranged from around 6- 15. 

There is an epidemic of our young kids who prefer to die than deal with the big things.
And it is easy to hear the details from these other families, because there is no privacy here, and quickly jump to a conclusion.  Like the youngest whose sibling kept cursing at everyone, and after several complaints the mom jerked her out of the area, banging her head on the wall, dragging her out screaming while she created a scene of “not going to sit there and be stared out” all while her young son watched without a peep.  He was released to go home; but preferred to stay.

Or, the young teen who came in and looked so innocent, so lost.  His mom searching for answers of why he was brought here and trying to grasp the process.  And the calm demeanor and held tears as that same young kid left in feet and hand shackles, escorted by deputies. 
And I sit here hour after hour and reflect on what I might be doing to make my own child’s trauma worse.  Is it me?  Can I do something more or less to ease his own mental anguish. 

The minutes tick by turning into hours, and eventually days.  With each hour, my own walls come down a bit.  The wall of self-preservation that gets higher and higher with every one of his outbursts, or wounding words, starts to crumble.  Because I see my baby. 

I see his anger and frustration and verbal attacks meld into sadness and fear.  He begs for us to take him home; and he erupts again with the thoughts and feelings he has both kept in and the ones that he has spewed out. 

I remind him that it’s okay to need help, he doesn’t have to carry this weight on his own.  And while we are thankful for professionals and medication and therapies that all have a place- it is his own Jesus who will be right here with him.  Jesus, who died not just for his sins but for his sadness, the trauma he has survived and the internal anguish he fights every single day.  And it is his Jesus who wins.   

But it sure doesn't feel like that these days.  

The daily survival sucks the life out of us. We get mired down in the fearful feeling that this is it, nothing will change and we are doomed to this hard forever.

During these days, we have been held up by prayers, calls and tangible acts. We appreciate ever word of encouragement and act of love .  

It’s now Thursday night.  After 4 days and 3 nights in the Emergency Department, Elijah got a bed and was admitted for care.  

That is a long time to sit in the ED.  And the waiting for psychiatric care is much different that waiting for medical care.  The nurses, "sitters", social workers and other staff was good to us, doing much to make our wait bearable.  But in their own words, "the system is broken".  

During the wait, the emotional roller coaster runs non-stop.  From anger, to sadness, to fear, to dread.  We've been here before so he knows what is coming.  He knows the process is hard. 
So we break the silence with his questions and fears, which include some good conversation; like the night we took this picture.  He told me to post it on Facebook, and he titled the post. 

Hard is easier when you do it together.  


I had just told him he wasn’t damaged goods.  Reminding him that God didn’t create him damaged but He is certainly taking all the trauma and neglect and hurt and using every bit of it to write his story. There is no shame in any of it like the enemy wants us to believe.  The hospital is to help our brains and not just our bodies.  

He, like so many of us feel alone when we are most vulnerable; we believe the lie that we are the only ones suffering.  And if we are the only ones, than it must be us.  We must be damaged and who wants to let that secret out, so we don't.  We keep it all bottled inside and hide thinking nobody will understand.  

And that’s why I share the details of what our adoption reality is.  I don't write to shame or embarrass my sons or to gain pity or attention.  

It is what it is.  God has a plan for all of it including us being able to comfort and encourage others with the same comfort we ourselves have received. If we keep our hard hidden, if we feel shame when we struggle and seek help- then we can't share the victory when we win.  

On Monday, a friend of mine shared the message from her church's ladies event that I was supposed to attend with her but couldn't.  The take-away is Jesus Wins.  Our great big God, all the plans and provision, persecution and pain, wherever you are in your faith, whatever the thorn in your flesh, however you are suffering- the end of the story has been written. 

It is God's perfect plan, one that at the time had to look hopeless but Jesus Wins. 

Our family has problems, yes it is true.  But, because He wins, so can we.

Happy Thursday Y'all!
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